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The  Easter Message  -  Resurrection Power

TEXT: Matthew 28:1-10
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone; and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. Lo, I have told you." So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me."

 This is news of joy, triumph, victory, and life. The words "go, run, quickly, tell" loom large, and they urge us to hurry to tell the good news.

Every account of the Easter event confirms the fact that the followers of Jesus were overwhelmed. Because they were filled with grief and despair, they were slow to believe. When Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, she thought Him to be the gardener, and it was not until He spoke her name that the truth came to her. "Jesus said to her, 'Women, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?' Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary.'" (John 20:15-16) He walked with the Emmaus disciples explaining the Scriptures to them, trying to help them understand that this had been planned and predicted, but not until He sat down at the table with them did they realize it was their Lord who had walked with them. When the women first told the apostles what they had seen, "These words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them." (Luke 24:11) We also know that Thomas doubted. "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." (John 20:25)

But just as the dawn of Easter morning drove away the darkness, so gradually the truth of Christ's resurrection drove away despair and disbelief. It was a great dawn, a new daybreak in human history, the beginning of a new covenant, a whole new way of life. No other book has a climax of such triumph and joy as that recorded in the Gospels, because there is only one Christ and only one Easter. This is the great message that could not wait, the good news that had to be told by a special messenger sent by God to announce it. "He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay." This is the good news we must hurry to tell: "Because I live, you will live also." (John 14:19)

   We are afraid of things beyond our experience. We fear the unknown. We fear death, and we do not want to die; we want to live. The message of Easter is "Do not be afraid." This is what the angel said to the women, and this is what Christ said over and over. "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 15:55-57)

So this is the good news. It is the best. It is the kind of news that makes us want to jump and shout, run and tell. And that was exactly the angel's directive: "Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead." The women left the empty tomb and, feeling both fearful and joyful, they ran to tell the good news.

The Resurrection and Sanctification
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know . . .  what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly
places. (Eph_1:18-20)

God wants us to experience the proper power source for living the Christian  life: "that you may know . . . what is the exceeding greatness of His power
toward us who believe."   We who have been born again by the Spirit of God are to live this new life by the power of God!
This is the power that our God wants to unleash upon us day by day. As great as this display of power was, even more is available to us: "and
seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places." This mighty divine power that brought forth Jesus from the dead, also raised Him to the right
hand of the Father in the heaven realm. Surely, this power is sufficient to lift us out of any deadening situation of our minds or our surroundings.
The caterpillar doesn't remain a caterpillar. One day it weaves about its body a cocoon and out of that cocoon emerges a beautiful butterfly. We do not understand fully what has taken place. We know only that where a worm once crawled in the dust, a butterfly now soars in the skies. So it is in the life of a Christian. We receive a miraculous new birth when Jesus of Nazareth, the risen Lord and Savior, comes to live within us.

This new birth connects us to the supernatural, resurrection power of our Savior. But like an instrument that is not used, we cannot experience this power unless we continue to invite God to work in our lives.

Dear Lord , too many days and years have passed without
me turning to You for this mighty power. Too often I have lived by a power
that came from me - will power, emotional power, mental power. I repent for
relying upon such feeble resources. Lord, by Your grace I see that heavenly
resurrection power is to be my supply, so I look to You now for this work in
me, in Your mighty name, Amen.

The One Necessary Thing

That I may know Him . . . Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do . . . one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. (Phi 3:10, Phi 3:13, and Luk 10:42)

Phi 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Phi 3:13  but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Luk 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Paul's goal in life was to grow in intimacy with the Lord "That I may know Him." He wanted to know the Lord so well that his life would be transformed into "resurrected living" in this spiritually lifeless world. He humbly admitted that he had not yet reached such spiritual maturity. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended." Thus, in light of his own need to grow, coupled with the excellence of the goal, he had a single focus in his life: "one thing I do." This one thing was his ongoing quest to know the Lord more and more.

This focused quest is similar to the heart that Mary demonstrated, as recorded in the gospel of Luke. When Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha, Mary "sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word" (Luk_10:39). Martha was functioning as a busy hostess, desiring to bless her Lord. However, her busy labors distracted her from the one she was attempting to serve. "But Martha was distracted with much serving" (Luk_10:40). The solution was obvious to Martha. She would insist that Jesus send her sister to help. "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me" (Luk_10:40).

How startled Martha must have been when Jesus indicated she was the problem, not Mary. "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things" (Luk_10:41). The many concerns of Martha's ministry were causing anxiety and inner turmoil. Her desire to serve the Lord had deteriorated to self-pity and irritation. Then, Jesus offered an astounding revelation that put everything into perfect spiritual perspective. "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her" (Luk_10:42).

What an amazing truth: "one thing is needed." That one necessary matter is Jesus. Mary chose Jesus. She was at the feet of her master, getting to know Him, listening to His words of truth and grace. This was Paul's heart: "one thing I do . . . that I may know Him."

Dear Lord Jesus, shape in me a heart like Paul, like Mary. Stir in me a passion to know You better. May this become the consuming goal in my life. Forgive me for allowing busy service to eclipse You, the one I desire to please. Help me to spend frequent quiet times at Your feet. Then, when I rise up to serve You, may my heart always remain at Your feet, abiding in You, Amen.


"On him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus."

They laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian; father of Alexander and Rufus, Mar_15:21

We see in Simon's carrying the cross a picture of the work of the Church throughout all generations; she is the cross-bearer after Jesus. Mark then, Christian, Jesus does not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer.
But let us comfort ourselves with this thought, that in our case, as in Simon's, it is not our cross, but Christ's cross which we carry. When you are molested for your piety; when your religion brings the trial of cruel mockings upon you, then remember it is not your cross, it is Christ's cross; and how delightful is it to carry the cross of our Lord Jesus!

You carry the cross after him. You have blessed company; your path is marked with the footprints of your Lord. The mark of his blood-red shoulder is upon that heavy burden. 'Tis his cross, and he goes before you as a shepherd goes before his sheep. Take up your cross daily, and follow him.
Do not forget, also, that you bear this cross in partnership. It is the opinion of some that Simon only carried one end of the cross, and not the whole of it. That is very possible; Christ may have carried the heavier part, against the transverse beam, and Simon may have borne the lighter end. Certainly it is so with you; you do but carry the light end of the cross, Christ bore the heavier end.
And remember, though Simon had to bear the cross for a very little while, it gave him lasting honour. Even so the cross we carry is only for a little while at most, and then we shall receive the crown, the glory. Surely we should love the cross, and, instead of shrinking from it, count it very dear, when it works out for us "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."



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